Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Colorful Beads Made from Magazines

I remember making beads out of the Sunday comics in an art class at age 9 or 10.  I tried a similar activity with my own kids - making beads out of magazines (or catalogs in my case), and not only did the girls (3 years old) absolutely love creating them, but they also turned out beautiful...

The first step is to cut out triangles from magazines.  The triangles can be isosceles or right and should have a large height-to-base ratio (but you can experiment with some variations).  Pay attention to the graphics along the edges and tip of the triangle, since those will be what shows up.  Older kids can cut the triangles themselves, but my kids are more into cutting tiny pieces (for me to pick up off the floor later), so I cut them myself while the girls (totally on their own) decided to arrange the triangles in different patterns:

The next step is to take each triangle and smother the back side with glue from about an inch from the base to the tip:

The girls did a great job with this.  the more glue, the better, because it helps stiffen up the beads when they dry.  After I took this picture, we cleaned the table and put some paper towels underneath to protect the table surface from getting covered in glue.

The final step for each bead is to roll it up.  I remember rolling the beads around toothpicks when I did this project as a child, so I brought out some wooden skewers:

For the kids, I wanted larger holes and should probably have had them wrap these around pencils, instead.  I started the rolling step for each bead, and the girls did an excellent job finishing the rolling.  They really surprised me by how well they did - the beads were not perfect, but they still turned out great.

Initially, I assumed that the girls will work on a bead or two and then lose interest and I would end up doing the rest.  To my astonishment, L and E both kept working and working on this task until they had rolled up nearly all the beads (I think I ended up with 4 or 5 to do myself).

Here's the result:

Aren't they beautiful?  You can add a layer of glue/water mix (Modge-Podge) or spray with hairspray for a shinier look and a stiffer finish, but I think these turned out great just the way we made them.

L had a great time making a necklace:

And modeling it, of course:

These types of beads also look wonderful in a necklace mixed in with round beads.  E didn't want to string a necklace, but had a fun time pretending the beads were food for her stuffed animals.  Both girls spent a lot of time playing with these magazine-paper beads, and they still seem to be in good shape.  I'll definitely be saving them and bringing them back out when we do more threading activities.

If I have some time, I may be tempted to make my own (smaller, more delicate) beads out of all the holiday catalogs that we're getting and create something for my myself.

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  1. great project, and love that you made the beads large, you can use them for a garland as well! thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling sunday!

  2. Thank you! I like the garland idea. When I get the chance, I want to make some bead curtains for a doorway with these.

  3. I love all of the colors! Thanks for sharing at the Sunday Showcase. :)


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